Healthy Living

Healthy Living: Tips for enjoying a healthier holiday season

Healthy Living - Tips for Enjoying a...

On average, Americans gain approximately one to two pounds during the holiday season. 

  • This isn’t dramatic, but research shows it tends to stick and accumulate over the years.
  • With just a few strategies, you can avoid holiday weight gain while still enjoying friends, family and the holiday feast!
  1. Avoid skipping meals
  • Skipping meals often results in a sluggish metabolism, increased hunger, and overeating later.
  • It is especially important to eat breakfast.
    • Research shows that people who eat breakfast consume fewer calories during the day.
    • Try to include all food groups but especially high fiber whole grains, fruits, and protein.
  1. Start with veggies
  • Try filling half your plate with lower-calorie party foods like fruits and vegetables.
    • Research shows eating a salad before your meal can help you eat fewer calories overall.
    • Bring a veggie tray or fruit salad to your holiday party.
  • Don’t forget that even though a food is considered “healthy”, like sweet potatoes or cranberries, they still contain calories and portions should be controlled.
  1. Healthy Substitutions
  • You can substitute more nutritious items to make your recipes a little healthier, such as chicken broth instead of butter in mashed potatoes, or applesauce instead of oil in baked goods.
  • These substitutions not only boost the nutrition profile of the dish, but may also decrease calories, fat, and sodium.
  1. Enjoy in Moderation
  • For those special holiday dishes and treats, start by making just one trip to the buffet line and choose the foods you really want to eat.
  • Remember these everyday objects when portioning food (see display).
  • Use a smaller plate (9 inches) to trick the brain into thinking portion sizes are bigger than they actually are.
  • Wait at least 10 minutes after you are finished eating to go back for seconds - it takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is full.
  • Try to stay in a room away from the food and focus on the conversation and party atmosphere.
  1. Be active
  • Activity helps to burn extra calories eaten during the day, so they don’t contribute to weight gain.
  • There are small things you can do to remain active – just 10 minutes of activity each day makes a difference.
    • If you are at a party, try to stand while mingling with guests to burn more calories.
    • Go on a walk after dinner or engage in a game of touch football or charades.
    • Help clean up after the meal.
    • Park far away and take the stairs.
    • Participate in a local race or event.

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